HC Deb 09 February 1970 vol 795 cc895-6
24. Mr. J. E. B. Hill

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether he is satisfied that the insistence of medical officers of health, in some areas, on Declaration of Health forms from all mothers who give voluntary assistance occasionally is not curtailing to an unnecessary extent parent participation in pre-school playgroups and the community service which this encourages; and if he will make a statement.

Dr. John Dunwoody

I have no grounds for thinking that this requirement causes special difficulty, but I would be glad to consider any evidence which the hon. Member may have to the contrary.

Mr. Hill

While in no way wishing to decry the maintenance of satisfactory health standards, especially for regular staff, may I ask whether the Minister does not agree that parental involvement of mothers' help occasionally is immensely valuable and should not be discouraged except for the most urgent reasons?

Dr. Dunwoody

Parental involvement is very important and something we would want to encourage, but one has to take into consideration also possible health hazards. Both sides of the picture have to be looked at.

Mrs. Renée Short

Can my hon. Friend say whether the requirements are the same all over the country, because the Question implies that they are not? Does he not agree that there should be some uniformity?

Dr. Dunwoody

The requirements are not necessarily the same all over the country. While one would expect, and I would accept, that in general one would want some regular requirements, there are a number of factors to be considered in particular areas, which justify slightly different treatment between one area and another.

Mr. Maurice Macmillan

Could the hon. Gentleman just give one assurance? When he is looking at the question, will he look at the wording of the forms used because sometimes a relatively simple requirement may be made to look complicated by the wording on the form used?

Dr. Dunwoody

I will look at that, and if the hon. Gentleman has any examples perhaps he will let me see them.